Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Theology of ADL Conspiracy Theories

Despite his bishop's order to cease publishing his opinions on Jews and Judaism, Bob Sungenis has written a new article for Culture Wars magazine on Judaism and the Old Covenant. In a recent Q&A posting on his web site, Sungenis drew a line between dealing with Jewish Theological issues and Jewish cultural/political issues, promising to deal with the former exclusively in his writings:

I'll leave criticism of Jewish politics and culture to people more capable than I apparently am. My expertise is in theology, and that is where I will put all my efforts. Hence, any future dealings that I have with the Jews, whether on our website or in published articles, will only concern the theological side of things. As you can see by the Jewish material presently on our website, every article is about theological matters, and that will always be the policy of our apostolate from here on out.(Q&A of January 25, 2008, "Response to P. Catan", Link)

One presumes that the words "every article [presently on our website]" includes the most recent Culture Wars article, "The Old Covenant: Revoked or Not Revoked?" And yet, like a pig to his mud puddle, Bob simply cannot help himself; he makes it an entire two pages into the article before going into a paranoid rant on the ADL and B'nai B'rith:

The original spelling was "B'ne B'rith," which, because of variants in Hebrew vowel pointing, could also be pronounced "B'nai B'rith." In any case, B'ne B'rith originated in 1842, ostensibly for Jewish humanitarian reasons. In 1913, the spelling changed to B'nai B'rith and it then became an organization whose main purpose was to thwart anti-Semitism. By the mid-twentieth century, the ADL arm of B'nai B'rith had grown so large that Congressman John Rarick was compelled to give critical testimony before Congress on Dec 6, 1971. Here are his sobering words: "The world's largest spy network, the either too powerful to be curbed or too well embedded to be mentioned or to come under public scrutiny. What is the ADL? It is a private investigative organization engaged in spying and preparing secret dossiers and reports which it uses to suppress free speech and discussion and to influence public thought and sentiment on an unsuspecting citizenry." Rarick adds that the ADL is a "monstrous Gestapo of the establishment," whose purpose is the "use of its intelligence network as a private super-pressure [organization]," and that it engages in "coerced cooperation of newspapers and other media of communication..." Quoting the words of senator Jack Tenney of California, Rarick continued: "The ADL has become the world's most powerful Gestapo; the brain center of a vast spy network and the intelligence unit of a myriad of Jewish organizations. Their secret agents spy on American citizens. Extensive files and dossiers are complied on those whom they dislike...Throughout their multitudinous controls of the media of communication, they are capable of destroying reputations and silencing all rebuttal....We are beginning to appreciate its vast spy network sprawling across the nation and throughout the world. Our imagination is staggered by its apparent control of the avenues of communication." (Sungenis, "Covenant", p. 2, fn. 5)

I will leave it to the more imaginative to explain how the "spy network" of the ADL has anything to do with theology.

The other point that needs to made here is that once again Bob has proven himself unwilling to do real research, or use primary sources, while writing on Jewish issues. The above quotes from John Rarick and Jack Tenney simply lack any citations or references, other than the passing mention of the fact that these words were spoken "before Congress on Dec 6, 1971."

Ostensibly, then, one could find this speech in the Congressional Record. And on a cold Saturday morning, I set out to do just that. First, I searched the Internet for some clue, and discovered that Bob's footnote above is little more than a verbatim copy-and-paste job from his 2005 article, "Neo-Cons and the Jewish Connection." Unfortunately, he doesn't give any sources or citations in that article either.

Arriving at the library, I quickly located the stacks which contained government documents. After finding the volume that contained the entries for December 6, 1971, I tracked down the speech in question, and it took all of five minutes to confirm my hunch. Comparing Rarick's speech with Bob's article, it is now a demonstrable fact: wherever Bob got these quotes from, he did not take them from the Congressional Record.

It was a strong suspicion in my mind from the beginning that Bob didn't go through these sorts of steps to do his homework and find these quotes. After all, we're talking about the man who once said, "Posting such CAI News articles is no hard work for me. I just copy and paste." (Q&A, Question 16, November 2006) It is simply not part of Bob's track record, when writing papers on his pet theories, to invest himself in any kind of effort to obtain (or validate) the quotes he uses. In this case, it is beyond doubt: he did no such research.

I am not interested in helping Bob out here by giving him volume and page number information. I have no intention of being his "fact-checker and source-exonerator for CAI articles on Jewish issues", a job he once publicly awarded to Ben Douglass, just months before Ben left CAI over Bob's anti-Jewish activities (cf. Sungenis, "Christopher Blosser and the Catholic ADL", p. 4)

It will suffice to say simply this: I did the leg-work, and I did the research, and it can now be said with certainty that Bob did not get his quotes from Rarick and Tenney by looking at the Congressional Record.

Which naturally raises the question: where did he get these quotes? Obviously, he plagiarized them from a secondary (or even tertiary) source, which he did not credit in either of the articles in which he "quoted" Rarick. Rather, as is his M.O., he acted as though he was using a primary source in order to give the impression that he actually did his homework, when in reality he was just plagiarizing again. This facade of having done primary research is probably why at least some people still think of him as a reputable scholar. He is not. He is a plagiarist.

So what was his secondary (or tertiary) source, in this case? I have no doubt that with a bit more checking, I could discover this as well, but to be quite blunt, I'm not interested enough at this juncture. Instead, I am raising this open challenge to Bob: reveal your actual sources for the Rarick material, because it certainly wasn't the Congressional Record.

Given Bob's past history with dealing with challenges against his sources ("I don't remember where I got it", or "it doesn't matter where I got it from, what matters is whether it's true"), I don't expect an answer.

Jacob Michael